In 1984, I was an Alternate Delegate of the California Reagan Delegation to the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. The convention was held in the city in August 1984.
|Above, the former Texas School Book |
Depository and Dal-Tex Buildings from
Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. Photo by
While there, most of my time was taken up in attending the convention sessions, state delegation caucus meetings, social functions (one was at the estate of Mrs. H. L. Hunt, widow of oil billionaire) and tours set up by the host committee (one was to Southfork Ranch, used in the prime-time soap Dallas
During my stay in Dallas, I elected to go on my own to Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination of President Kennedy, that occurred fifty years ago today.
I took a taxi over to Dealey Plaza and once I arrived, I proceeded to take photographs of the area from different angles.
Dealey Plaza looked almost as it did in November 1963 with some changes. The Stemmons Freeway sign (that partially obscured the presidential limousine in the Abraham Zapruder film) was gone. The street lamps that were located next to the curbs were moved several feet away into the grassy areas. The Hertz Rent-A-Car clock sign, that was atop the former Texas School Book Depository, was removed in 1979. It is currently in storage. Some overhead signs on Elm Street were added since 1963.
The former Texas School Book Depository building, where Lee Oswald had his sniper's nest, was then owned and operated by the county. The Sixth Floor Museum was still in its planning stages in 1984, but the main lobby of the building was open and had a free publication on the assassination available that also contained an article on the planned museum.
A suspicious fire was started with two separate points of origin in the basement of the Book Depository Building during the time I was there for the convention. Fortunately, the damage amounted to about $250,000 and the Hertz sign, in storage in the basement at the time, was undamaged.
The above photo also includes the Dal-Tex Building where Abraham Zapruder's Jennifer Juniors
dress company was located.
While I was in Dealey Plaza, I did get an eerie feeling. I have heard that a lot of visitors to the area get the same feeling.
After the convention was over and after my return home to Hawthorne, California, I had my film developed and began putting the photographs into a photo album devoted to my week in Dallas.
As I was doing so, my mother suggested that I mount several photographs in a montage. Those photos were taken when I stood on the concrete pedestal off of Elm Street where Abraham Zapruder stood and filmed the assassination.
When I completed my photography of Dealey Plaza, I took a cab back to my hotel. I got into the cab at Elm and Houston Streets and rode down Elm Street in the same lane as Kennedy's limousine when the shots were fired.
The distance between the street and the sixth floor window was not that great. Photographs of the scene really don't convey how close the street was to the window. It was a relatively easy shot for Oswald to carry off. He might have been able to do it without a scope, in my opinion.
How did I learn the news of Kennedy's assassination? I wrote this
three years ago.
Here are some of the photographs I took in Dealey Plaza:
|Above, part of the photo montage from my photo album. I stood on |
the pedestal used by Abraham Zapruder. Photos by Armand Vaquer.
|Above, a frame from the Nix film at about the time of the fatal shot.|
|Above, a view similar to the Nix frame. The photo was taken from Main Street. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the motorcade turns onto Elm St. from Houston St. The image|
was taken from the intersection of Main St. and Houston St.
|Above, a similar view from Main and Houston Streets. The Dal-Tex Building is on the right. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the open window marks the Oswald's sniper's next. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Armand on Elm Street with the triple underpass in the background.|
|Above, a view of Elm Street. The white area on the sidewalk marks a streetlight's former location. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|